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Eukaryot Cell. 2008 Mar;7(3):454-64. doi: 10.1128/EC.00408-07. Epub 2008 Jan 18.

Response of Schizosaccharomyces pombe to zinc deficiency.

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  • 1Institute of Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, United Kingdom.


A component of the cellular response to zinc deficiency operates via control of transcript abundance. Therefore, microarray analysis was employed to identify Schizosaccharomyces pombe genes whose mRNA levels are regulated by intracellular zinc status. A set of 57 genes whose mRNA levels were substantially reduced in response to zinc deficiency was identified, while the mRNA levels of 63 genes were increased by this condition. In order to investigate the mechanisms that control these responses, a genetic screen was employed to identify mutants with defective zinc-responsive gene expression. Two strains (II-1 and V7) that were identified by this screen harbor mutations that are linked to zrt1+, which encodes a putative Zrt/IRT-like protein (ZIP) zinc uptake transporter. Importantly, zrt1+ mRNA levels are increased in response to zinc deprivation, and cells lacking functional Zrt1 are highly impaired in their ability to proliferate at limiting zinc concentrations. Furthermore, zrt1 null cells were found to have severely reduced zinc contents, indicating that Zrt1 functions as a key regulator of intracellular zinc levels in fission yeast. The deletion of fet4+, another zinc-responsive gene encoding a putative metal ion transporter, exacerbated the phenotypes associated with the loss of Zrt1, suggesting that Fet4 also plays a role in zinc uptake under limiting conditions.

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